Posts Published in September 2012

Move Over Twitter: Instagram Now Boasts More Active Mobile Users

It is commonly said that a picture is worth a thousand words. It seems that US smartphone users agree, for Instagram has now passed Twitter in active user count. The legions of Instagrammers aren’t just checking their beloved social network more than their Tweeting counterparts — their eyeballs are glued on it longer as well.
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Review: Canon D20 is a Decent One Trick Pony for Shooting Around Water

Point-and-shoot cameras aren’t doing so hot these days as consumers are replacing their multiple electronic devices with a single gadget: the smartphone. The compact cameras that have a chance of surviving are the ones that are special in some way, whether it’s having a gigantic sensor or being hardened with serious weatherproofing.

The Canon PowerShot D20 features the latter but not the former. Like the Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS, which we reviewed last month, the D20 is designed for people who want to casually document life’s moments in environments that are life-threatening to ordinary digital cameras.
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Smartphone App Snaps Stealthy Photos to Spy On Your Life in 3D

With the advent of Internet-connectivity and apps in cameraphones and digital cameras, images can now be shared with others in ways never before seen in the history of photography. Unfortunately, not all of the ways are positive. Some are downright creepy.

Take PlaceRaider, for example. It’s a malicious Android app that hijacks your smartphone’s camera, secretly takes photos of your life, and uses those images to reconstruct 3D virtual spaces of private locations.
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Macro Photos Shot Using a Smartphone and a Laser Pointer Lens

Last month we wrote about how the small focusing lens inside a laser pointer can be repurposed as a cheap macro lens for your smartphone. After seeing this project online, photo enthusiast John Coleman decided to give it a shot. To keep the lens secure against your phone, you’ll need something to hold it (e.g. a hair pin) and some tape to attach the holder to the phone. The photo above shows the super simple attachment Coleman created.
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Hoocap: A Lens Cap That Transforms Into a Hood, and Vice Versa

Lens caps are often cast aside in favor of lens hoods, but what if you could have both in one accessory? That’s what the Hoocap does. It’s not as fancy as the blooming lens hood concept we featured a year ago, but it seems pretty well thought out. Extend the cap/hood out from your camera, and the two “curtains” open up, allowing the camera to “see” and blocking errant light from causing flares. Close it, twist it, and push it into your lens, and it locks into its closed position for protecting your glass.
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Time-Lapse of Daily Photos from the First 21 Years of a Young Man’s Life

Photographer Noah Kalina has taken a self-portrait a day for the past 12.5 years, but his already-impressive project has now been bested by one that’s nearly twice as long. When Leeds Met University student Cory McLeod was born 21 years ago, his parents began faithfully documenting his life by taking a single photograph of his face every single day. This past week, the project was published as a one-of-a-kind video titled “21 Years” that shows McLeod’s entire life in roughly six minutes.
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Okay, Let’s Call Internet-Connected, App-Equipped Cameras “Smartcameras”

One major trend in the camera industry this year is the introduction of mobile operating systems such as Android into digital cameras. By opening the door to things like Wi-Fi, data plans, and apps, camera makers are going in the same direction that phone makers went some years ago, turning their devices into what can best be described as portable computers with specialized functions (e.g. voice-calling, photography).

While covering the trend, we’ve been at a loss for what to call the new cameras. After calling the Samsung Galaxy Camera a “voiceless phonecamera” in our hands-on first-look yesterday, commenters suggested that we call the device a “smartcamera”. Bingo… that’s the term we were looking for.
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A Simple Explanation of the Metering and AE-Lock Features in Your DSLR

Want a better understanding of how the metering and AE-lock features in your DSLR camera work? YouTube photography tutorial channel PhotoUniverse made this simple explanation that explains the concepts using a whiteboard. He quickly steps through evaluative (which uses a database of many “known” photos) and center-weighted metering before spending a good amount of time explaining spot metering and how you can use it in conjunction with AE-Lock to properly expose photographs.

If you’re already adept at handling your DSLR, you probably won’t learn anything new, but this video is great for anyone that’s just starting to dip their toes into more serious photography.

(via PhotoUniverse via Reddit)


P.S. He also shares a common trick used by many photographers for metering on a sunny day: green grass can often work nicely as an 18% gray card.

Canon High-MP DSLR May Have a 1D X-esque Body, 5D Mark II On Way Out?

Two interesting Canon rumors are currently floating around. The first has to do with the 46MP DSLR that Canon is reportedly field testing and may be planning to unveil in late October. Northlight Images received a tip saying the camera’s body will be 1D-X-esque:

In an update to the high MP info, we’re told that a camera will eventually appear in a 1D X derived body, in the same way as the 1D C. The information said that the actual designation was not known, but it would essentially be a ‘1 series’. There was also a warning that there would be a long wait between any ‘preview’ and any cameras being annouced and subsequently shipping.

If true, this means Canon is going for the larger pro-style body rather than following after Nikon’s 36.3MP D800.
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Make Artsy Photo Filters Using Markers and Transparencies

If you’re a fan of Instagram, then you’ll probably appreciate this neat DIY project by Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess. Their Homemade Photo Filter DIY involves drawing colorful patterns on squares cut from transparency sheets:

To use your filter, simply hold it over your lens when shooting. (with auto focus enabled) Move the filter around over your lens as you frame your shot. You’ll be able to choose which part of your photo is in focus and which part is blurry and colorful!

You can achieve different looks based on things like color, pattern, and how you hold the sheet. The resulting effect makes it look like you spent some time tweaking the toning and contrast sliders in post. Head on over to their blog for the full lowdown and more sample photos.

Homemade Photo Filter DIY [A Beautiful Mess via MAKE]


Image credits: Photographs by Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess